Google: We're Building a Car with No Steering Wheel

Driverless Cars-Google
Eric Risberg/APGoogle co-founder Sergey Brin gestures after riding in a driverless car in 2012.
By JUSTIN PRITCHARD

LOS ANGELES -- Google will build a car without a steering wheel.

It doesn't need one because it drives itself.

The two-seater won't be sold publicly, but Google (GOOG) said Tuesday it hopes by this time next year, 100 prototypes will be on public roads. Though not driving very quickly -- the top speed would be 25 mph.

The cars are a natural next step for Google, which already has driven hundreds of thousands of miles in California with Lexus SUVs and Toyota Priuses outfitted with a combination of sensors and computers.

Those cars have Google-employed "safety drivers" behind the wheel in case of emergency. The new cars would eliminate the driver from the task of driving.

No steering wheel, no brake and gas pedals. Instead, buttons for go and stop.

"It reminded me of catching a chairlift by yourself, a bit of solitude I found really enjoyable," Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, told a Southern California tech conference Tuesday evening of his first ride, according to a transcript.

The electric-powered car is compact and bubble-shaped -- something that might move people around a corporate campus or congested downtown.

Google is unlikely to go deeply into auto manufacturing. In unveiling the prototype, the company emphasized partnering with other firms.

The biggest obstacle could be the law.

Test versions will have a wheel and pedals, because they must under California regulations.

Google hopes to build the 100 prototypes late this year or early next and use them in a to-be-determined "pilot program," spokeswoman Courtney Hohne said. Meanwhile, by the end of this year, California's Department of Motor Vehicles must write regulations for the "operational" use of truly driverless cars.

The DMV had thought that reality was several years away, so it would have time to perfect the rules.

That clock just sped up, said the head of the DMV's driverless car program, Bernard Soriano.

"Because of what is potentially out there soon, we need to make sure that the regulations are in place that would keep the public safe but would not impede progress," Soriano said.


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savannahswithgod

I had mine come loose one time while driving, that's a neat feeling. Also a guy was working on his turn signals and had took the part on the column there loose. That guy was on interstate 75 getting ready to go under a overpass and that part loose locked up the steering so his Mach 1 Mustang ran into a nice big concrete structure. I don't know about him but he sold the car to a friend of mine, Billy H. I love Billy H, he was a Hell of a guy, from the mountains. Put a rear end in my car one time in the rain and another drove me around in his truck then told me he had dynamite behind the seat, had a greiviance with someone? Love you Billy H wherever you are! Goggle sure is wise and Big and stuff but the question I would have for them would be if there computer could play my morphed version of Panzer General 2 that I created 9 campaigns for. Got it playing on XP, Vista and Windows 7. Have not played it much on the 7, just a scenario or 2 but seemed okay. If you played a scenario a night you could play it a year and a 3rd of a year Google. Imagine that, your advertisement of the Googley thing seen for around 450 days, that would surely brainwash someone to want a Googley car. I'll wait for a E-mail Googley people and that big check signed by Mr or Miss Googley or their young nubile daughter, Trixie on my helping you to conquer the World! Sorry Zuckberg, no Facebook I have found my hen that lays the Golden Egg. Now to keep Peter Griffen and my Hen from fighting and stealing his hen Lois? Goggle drop in with one of those computers I'll move the game there with a Scan Disk thingey and see if it will play?

May 29 2014 at 8:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
HiBarbRayAndMeg

I see the "Earth is flat" crowd is out in force tonight on this issue. Which means the righties are clogging up the internet once again with their ignorance and fear. When will they learn?

May 29 2014 at 12:36 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to HiBarbRayAndMeg's comment
HAT1701D

Yes, because a vehicle with no abilty to override in a situation is a brilliant idea. Why do you think a pilot in an aircraft can take back over when a malfunction occurs? Because machines are not perfect, that's why. Eventually, when self driving cars are on the road at freeway and highway speeds and the concept of fuel efficiency "drafting" is being employed ( which has been tested with a group of 15 self driving vehicles ) the first time atire blowout happens....let's see how quickly one of these cars handles it at 70 MPH and 6 feet between themselves. I deal with machines. I have mechanical back ground from the Air Force. I have been working for 20 years with engines now in manufacturing. Nothing and I mean NOTHING operates without failing. So you go ahead and put all your faith in a self driving machine with no way to take over during a malfunction or failure......It's you and your family's life on the line, or perhaps I should say road.

May 29 2014 at 4:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lpcrsotp

If we listened to the ney-sayers posting here, we would run, not walk, back to the days before the invention of wheels and continue to hide in fear with each new innovation

May 29 2014 at 12:27 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to lpcrsotp's comment
savannahswithgod

They've invented something besides the cave and the shoe? What was that flickering light from across the way in Mort's cave?

May 29 2014 at 8:40 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Hi! Tom

Aren't we lazy enough today? I enjoy driving!

May 28 2014 at 11:22 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Hi! Tom's comment
savannahswithgod

Riding here, the bike. Things to drive sold to save the house. The house ancient, insurance dropped by those Big on Commitment at Ky Farm Bureau after 40 years. But me and the herd of kitties go on, a Lord out there somewhere. Was in the house for a few minutes in 2005. A strange cat that Lord. Waiting on the F-40 Ferrari in the driveway and the skyscraper going up here. Anyday now Lord, anyday!

May 29 2014 at 8:25 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
andrewbykovsky

I hope i never get hit by a google car, otherwise google will have it's own epic fail

May 28 2014 at 10:04 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to andrewbykovsky's comment
savannahswithgod

If your hit by it the Google license plate flips, ala James Bond and reads FACEBOOK after that!

May 29 2014 at 8:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
nick

what a waste of time and money thats all we need are stupid and unsafe driverless cars on the road who ever wants one should heve their head examined

May 28 2014 at 9:57 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to nick's comment
lpcrsotp

Really? It occurrs to me that the major cause of auto accidents is driver error, Eleminate the driver and eleminate the error. Also, driverless cars don't have problems with road rage. Lastly, it would be safer in times when car occupan ts feel amerous for them to be able to focus more on making out and less on steering wheels and brakes. . . .

May 29 2014 at 12:23 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
savannahswithgod

Somebody can examine a head? Freud's not even in my league! This would maybe prevent DUI's or at least have the cops not walk out of the station as the car drives into it!

May 29 2014 at 8:29 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
militiaman2013

GOOGLE is nothing more than a hand out from Microsoft whom they copy, there is not one fresh practical idea or one innovative product ever coming out of Google.

The hedge funds raid your 401k and buy the crap stock then Sergey Brin the terrorist spend all day every day selling the shares to further his terrorist cell.

May 28 2014 at 9:10 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to militiaman2013's comment
savannahswithgod

Shame both aint smart enough to know Picture It Publishing is the program to mess with your cartoon porn and that all systems and computers need to play the morphed version of Panzer General 2 that I have on a Scan Disk.

May 29 2014 at 8:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
whipstur

Now my car will drive me to drink.

May 28 2014 at 7:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to whipstur's comment
savannahswithgod

Don't try that stuff in the radiator or windshield washer storage, got kind of a taint to it!

May 29 2014 at 8:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cvanac8550

I have ofen thought of having auto pilot when I was fighting tiredness while driving....But being of the old school I don't think I would be perfectly comfortable sleeping with one eye open...LOL

May 28 2014 at 7:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to cvanac8550's comment
savannahswithgod

If your comfortable out there don't get too, there is a 2,000 pound vehicle just a few feet from making you very uncomfortable by just not being at a few feet, what a 100 miles per hour at the impact. Probably happening as we speak, people checking out the Goggle car and going 'wow' right before the impact!

May 29 2014 at 8:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jdshuttleworth

Have to think the ultimate goal is the licensing of the technology to trucking and delivery firms in order to eliminate the cost of drivers. Coming to a big rig near you soon.

May 28 2014 at 4:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply